2017-2018 Collaboration Laboratory
Marc Furigay and Abbéy Odunlami
1) Describe the context of your school, neighborhood, or classroom.
Dyett High School for the Arts is in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood. We’re a neighborhood school that serves mostly black students from low-income households.
2) Big Idea
Justice doesn’t come automatically; sometimes you gotta fight for it, which means you must first figure out what it looks like.
What’s an injustice you’ve suffered, and what did – or would – justice look like?
4) Academic Content(s)
English, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis
5) Artistic Discipline(s)
Illustration, storytelling, audio, video
6) Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation)
Common Core English Standards
RL 9-10.2 – Determine theme / central idea
RL 9-10.3 – Analyze character development
RL 9-10.5 – Analyze structure & effect
SL 9-10.4 – Present information clearly & concisely
SL 9-10.5 – Produce digital media to present ideas
Illinois Visual Arts / National Core Arts Standards
Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard 3: Revise, refine, and complete artistic work.
Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work
Anchor Standard 8: Construct meaningful interpretations of artistic work.
Anchor Standard 10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
7) Please describe what you did and what you made for this project
We implemented the project after reading Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, an autobiographical graphic novel about Satrapi’s coming-of-age amid Iran’s Islamic revolution in the 1980s. Among other things, the book explored the idea of justice and injustice. Our students then created short graphic stories – or, “comics” – in 2 parts: 1) an injustice they experienced in their own lives, and 2) the more imaginative part: what justice would look like in that case? Once completed with their comics, we recorded students narrating and commenting on what they created. We then took frame-by-frame pictures of the comics and combined the images with the audio to create videos where the students presented their stories.
8.) What did you learn about yourself, your partner(s), and the students? How might what you learned impact your teaching practice?
Marc: I learned that taking the time to make art myself and model it for students enriches my own experience; that Abbey is a deep conceptual thinker who’s invested in high-quality productions (and is thankfully a flexible collaborator); that our students are, in general, quite forgiving and don’t demand a lot in terms of recompense; and that incorporating art into English class is a certifiable best practice – an idea that will shape my practice in the future.
Abbey: I learned that the engagement with students is a component of artistic research that allows the work to gain greater depth and also moves the creative process forward. Despite this methodology, the series of interviews gave me, as an educator, a chance to support the students in directing the direction the work took. It heightened my creative practice during the editing process as I took the chance to follow an editing pattern that played to the student’s storytelling.
9.) How did the collaboration challenge your understanding of teaching, learning, and art-making?
Abbey: I learned that students need continuous engagement on dynamic projects which incorporate various art practices. The importance of scheduling is crucial when dealing with audio and video art projects. The most impactful lesson I learned is the importance of engagement with students in producing works of art. Particularly dealing with high school students who have their lives filled with interesting events. Incorporating their daily lives and contemporary trends into the work gives it a depth which retains their attention a lot longer.
Marc: to optimize the value and quality of arts-integration projects, students and teachers need a frequent and consistent schedule that allows for solid chunks of time on any given day.